Discuss the process and considerations that a new business would need to deal with in relation to facilities planning
‘Facilities Management is all about collecting and interpreting data on diverse facets of property use.‘ -Facilities Management. An explanation. Alan Park 1998. A principle objective for any new business would be to manage the property and contents as efficiently as possible. It is important to maximise the usage of the building whilst minimising wasted space and inefficient departmental interfaces. The facilities manager must consider the bottom line cost as the over-riding important factor when beginning the process of designing or choosing the business premises. I will go on to identify the supporting considerations which underpin the facility manager’s planning. Facilities planning is a multi-stage process in which all areas of the business are covered and this is the stage in which weaknesses can be identified in order to try and avoid mishaps and an unsuccessful property. Firstly, it is important to choose the location of the property and determine whether it will have to be a newly constructed site, or if renovating an existing building would be the better option. Secondly, the facilities manager must define the facility requirements, design and undertake a cost estimate. The third factor of the process includes a final design review, approval, and freezing the design at the end of that stage. Phase four is the project bid where the building comes under construction and is modified suitably for the purpose of that business. Phase five concludes the process through project management which oversees building construction, equipment installation and commissioning and any project follow-up work. There is a myriad of considerations when undertaking facilities planning, however, I have chosen to concentrate on some of the more important generic factors. Under health and safety regulations the facilities manager will need to record suitable and sufficient risk assessments with the intention of identifying the actions needed to comply with statutory requirements. For example, specific regulations cover such aspects as manual handling operations, display screen equipment use, personal protective equipment and working at height. The facilities manager will need to ensure that all employees understand the safety requirements for their activities within the workplace. Following the risk assessments, a health and safety policy needs to be provided which is freely available and easily understood by the employees. In short, the facilities manager must understand the safe and proper functioning of the premises and equipment through controlling the program of internal safety audits. Associated with risk assessments is the need for strategic planning. The facilities manager needs to understand his role in the organisations business continuity planning. Specifically he will
need to understand the four stage process of prevention, preparedness, reaction and recovery in terms of maintaining or assuring facilities to support the business need. Of particular importance would be recovery and backup systems following any catastrophic event. Another consideration is service provision, whether or not to contract out services, or retain ‘in house’. There are various options available and this has to be a careful and thorough consideration if value for money (VFM) is to be maximised. The facilities manager will define the service requirements and concentrate on those attributes which are most important for his particular business. He will consider customer service, flexibility and speed of response, management implications, control and all costs as the important service provision attributes. The facilities manager will wish to constantly improve the use of the building and facilities through adopting appropriate quality assurance schemes, in order to supply services and products to the correct quality and to be able to...
References: Alan Park (1998). Facilities Management An Explanation. 2nd ed. England: Palgrave. 131-139, 69-70, 65-66. Peter Barrett & David Baldry (2003). Facilities Management Towards Best Practice. 2nd ed. Great Britain : Blackwell. 46-49 NAO (1997). Effective Facilities management A Good Practice Guide. 2nd ed. Great Britain : National Audit Office. 75-76, 21-31, 97-103.
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